Free-verse poetry full of sensory details, evocative language, and repetition pair with scratchy illustrations in the greens, browns, and blues of the natural world to capture a morning of fishing from a red canoe.
The first-person narrator and “you,” an unidentified child-adult pair, crawl out of the tent to a purple morning and mist on the water. The paddle dips “in and out, / in and out, / in and out.” They spy a moose, a beaver with a stick, and an eagle and its nest, and they hear the chittering of a squirrel. The sun comes up. All the while, the child has a line in the water: “You paddled. / We waited.” Though the text builds up to the landing of a trout, it doesn’t feel any more or less magical than the rest of the book, though the pace does increase to match the fight: “Then silver leapt from / water to sky, / soared from / sky to water / and landed with a splash / beside the red canoe.” The fish, fried in butter over the fire, is the “best breakfast / ever.” Pendziwol incorporates details for all five senses, inviting readers along. The verses and pictures are on facing pages, the former against a textured, painted-wood background, sometimes with a tiny supporting illustration. Illustrator Phil’s red canoe stands out against the nature scenes, though readers never spy its occupants up-close. Facial expression may be absent, but the emotion and wonder of this morning are marvelously clear.
Evocative, lyrical, perfect. (Picture book. 4-10)